It comforts me to read this now and remember when Daddy and Mama and I were all together and still making memories, even as most of Mama’s were fading away.
And now Dad is fading away. Bedridden in hospice care. Eating less. Sleeping more. But he did enjoy the homemade ice cream I brought him the other night. We are still making some memories. Even as we miss Mama.
The reality that our time together on earth is dwindling weighs on my heart. I know another goodbye is coming. I hope it’s a long way off. Dad’s health keeps fluctuating. Some days I think he’s leaving us soon, and other days hope rises that he will overcome all and that the doctors are wrong.
But always I’m forever grateful my parents know Jesus. They will be together again. Mama will be strong in mind again and Daddy will be able to see once more! How I’d love to see their first reunion hug! And how blessed I am to know we will have eternity together…
April 2014 I learned lessons of life and good-byes tonight. I sat on the sofa, with my parents, as Mom read the little stories of her life I had typed up for her about her childhood and young adulthood and then her courtship with Dad.
At one point she read out loud, “Ray and Nina got married.” She turned to Dad and asked in a strong, surprised tone, “Did you get married?”
Dad teased her back, “Did you get married?”
Mom laughed and half shouted, “I don’t remember!” Then she suddenly turned and looked at Dad and seriously asked, “Who are you?”
Dad, unfazed and accustomed to the question, calmly replied, “I’m your sweetheart.”
“Oh,” Mom said contemplatively. “You’re my sweetheart.”
Dad and I sat and visited, while I continued to comb Mom’s freshly washed hair with my fingers. I asked Dad some questions and he told me stories of his own dad’s history as a lumberjack and how they would ice the snow grooves so the horses could pull the sleds of lumber easily and other tidbits and treasures that I didn’t know before.
When I got up to leave, Dad walked me to the door. He stood on his little front porch with the storm door held open, as I backed my car out of the driveway for my short drive home. It reminded me of my childhood, when we would faithfully go visit my dad’s parents, who lived a couple hours from us.
Grandpa would always walk us out to the car, and stand at the end of the driveway and watch us drive away. This was the same grandpa, who left his own homeland of Sweden when he was 26, and never saw his parents on this earth again. I wonder if that made good-byes more important to him.
And it all makes me think of our Heavenly Father, because He loves those who don’t even know who He is. And He has so much wisdom to give us if we will just ask and seek and listen. And, like my Dad standing at the doorway, “The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.”Psalm 121:8(NLT)
And He has made a way, for all who follow Him in faith, to be reunited someday in our true Homeland. And there I will see my Grandpa again and give him the biggest hug ever and ask him all about his lumberjack days and hear all his stories. And there my Mom will remember her marriage, and know who her faithful, loving husband is. And there we will never say good-bye.